Takes and trash talk from both ALL sides of the NHL's most obscure PATHETIC* rivalry

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Ducks Gameday—Who will be the best third-place team ever?

Anaheim Ducks (46-20-12, 3rd in west) at St. Louis Blues (32-33-12, 10th in west)

Yesterday, with victories by both the Stars (thanks a lot, Detroit!) and Sharks, the Pacific Division became the first division to boast three hundred-point teams this year. Only the Atlantic Division was able to barely accomplish that feat last year (NJD 101, PHI 101, NYR 100); by the end of this season, by comparison, the 3rd place team in the Pacific will probably have more than the 101 points it took New Jersey to win the Atlantic last year.


  • Anaheim 46-20-12, 104 points with 4 games remaining
  • Dallas 47-24-6, 100 points with 5 games remaining
  • San Jose 48-26-4, 100 points with 4 games remaining
Huge games remaining:
  • WED: SJS @ ANA (PJ and I will be there!)
  • FRI: ANA @ DAL
And to spice things up, if there’s a tie by season end, SJ will hold the tie-breaker (wins) on DAL, and both will hold the tie-breaker on ANA. Crazy to think how many points it will take to get you a 6th seed in the west.

Speaking of 6th seeds in the west, by the way, it’s about time I regurgitated some data from an old pattern-recognition post: Hope for the 6th-seed
The last three Western Conference Finals have featured a 6th-seeded team that finished the previous year at 12th in the west. Amazingly, twice in three years that 6th seed was the higher seed in the WCF, but in all three years the lower seed has taken the series to advance to the cup finals.

Here are the last three 6th seeds in the west, their previous year’s finish, and their WCF result:

  • 2006 6th seed – Anaheim (previous year 12th), lost to 8th-seeded Edmonton
  • 2004 6th seed – Calgary (previous year 12th), beat 2nd-seeded San Jose
  • 2003 6th seed – Minnesota (previous year 12th), lost to 7th-seeded Anaheim

Over the last three years, the highest seed to emerge from the west was the 6-seed. The lowest seed to emerge from the east was the 2-seed. And still, despite that surface disparity, it’s always come down to a seventh game out east to get a winner.

I tell ya, it’s a tough, tough west…

Prediction: I still want the 2-seed. Ducks 6, Blues 3. Goals by Pronger, Pahlsson, Penner, Getzlaf, and Selanne x2.

Friday, March 30, 2007

V for Vendetta—Who’s the hungriest for roast Duck this spring?

I’ve alluded to it before, but there’s at least four teams out west that have a pretty compelling tale of revenge against the once-Mighty Ducks for past-playoff upsets. Here’s a brief look at how those series went down, and why the west looks to be a minefield of vengeance for the Ducks this spring.

Detroit Red Wings
Last playoff matchup: 2003 playoffs, 1st round, (2) DET vs. (7) ANA
Result: 4-0 Ducks. Anaheim becomes the first team in NHL history to sweep a defending Stanley Cup champion. Game 1 in Detroit is especially significant, as Paul Kariya beats CuJo early in the third overtime period, wherein J.S. Giguere becomes the first goaltender to make 60+ saves in his playoff debut and the first goaltender ever to make 20 saves in one OT period. This really begins the playoff legend of Jiggy, as the Ducks are outshot all four games but manage four one-goal wins. Detroit, incidentally, had not lost three games in a row all season.
Key player: GIGUERE 4-0, 6 GA on 171 shots in more than 290 minutes of action, 1.24 GAA, .964 Sv%.

Dallas Stars
Last playoff matchup: 2003 playoffs, 2nd round, (1) DAL vs. (7) ANA
Result: 4-2 Ducks. Another huge upset, as Dallas was the top seed in the west. Again, the series started with a long G1 victory, as Petr Sykora finally beat Turco early in the 5th overtime period—this gave J.S. Giguere another postseason accolade, as he became the first goaltender ever to have two 60-save performances in one playoff year (for reference, Patrick Roy is the only other goaltender to have two 60-save performances in his career!). Two major “clutch” statistics for the Ducks in this series? (a) in all four wins, the Ducks score the winning goal on their final shot of the game, (b) in all six games of the series, the Dallas Stars were tied or ahead with 2 minutes left in regulation.
Key player: GIGUERE 4-2, 13 GA on 202 shots in more than 422 minutes of action, 1.85 GAA, .936 Sv%

Minnesota Wild
Last playoff matchup: 2003 playoffs, 3rd round, (6) MIN vs. (7) ANA
Result: 4-0 Ducks in the Cinderella v. Cinderella matchup. Of course, this is the most one-sided sweep in NHL history, as the Wild only managed to score ONE GOAL over the course of these four games. As was a common theme in those playoffs, again the Ducks started with a multi-overtime game one, this time again won by Sykora midway through the 2nd overtime period. And while Minnesota was not a scoring juggernaut by any means, bear in mind that they scored 26 goals on 149 shots in their previous 7-game series with Vancouver.
Key player: GIGUERE 4-0, 1 GA on 123 shots in more than 268 minutes of action, 0.22 GAA, .992 Sv%

Calgary Flames
Last playoff matchup: 2006 playoffs, 1st round, (3) CGY vs. (6) ANA
Result: 4-3 Ducks, beating the defending western conference champions. This was a much different story than any of the other series, because J.S. Giguere went from playoff-god to playoff-god-awful (though to be fair, he was playing through injury); this series instead became the emergence of Ilya Bryzgalov. Consider this: in this series, Giguere surrendered 13 goals in 201 minutes, compared to Breezy surrendering only 3 goals in 225 minutes. Calgary’s power play was 6-for-28 against Giguere and 0-for-15 against Bryzgalov. Considering how much offense Giguere provided the Flames, it’s amazing that the Ducks still came out on top—but the real story has to be Calgary blowing a 3-2 series lead, especially since that’s how they had ended their previous postseason with Tampa. Actually, Calgary is the only team on this list to have ever had a series lead on the Ducks, and they blew all three series leads they had.
Key player: BRYZGALOV 2-1, 3 GA on 93 shots in more than 225 minutes of action, 0.80 GAA, .968 Sv%

I’m not really going to add Colorado to this list as their playoff hopes are nearly shot, but they were also pretty embarrassingly swept by the Ducks last spring as well, shut out the first two games and outscored in the series by Joffrey Lupul himself 6-4. (Oh, just because it's impressive: BRYZGALOV 4-0, 4 GA on 121 shots in more than 256 minutes of action, 0.94 GAA, .967 Sv%)

Just for perspective, look at how well the opposing goaltenders did that got beaten by the Ducks:

JOSEPH (DET): 10 GA on 120 shots in more than 288 minutes; 2.08 GAA, .917 Sv%
TURCO (DAL): 14 GA on 176 shots in more than 439 minutes; 1.91 GAA, .920 Sv%
FERNANDEZ (MIN): 4 GA on 70 shots in more than 174 minutes; 1.37 GAA, .943 Sv%
KIPRUSOFF (CGY): 16 GA on 202 shots in more than 427 minutes; 2.24 GAA, .921 Sv%

These aren’t bad playoff numbers at all. Almost a shame they had to run into the hottest goaltender of that year’s playoffs.

So, based on what you’ve seen above, what is the worst way to lose to the underdog Mighty Ducks?

  • Get swept in four 1-goal games?
  • Lose four games in the last two minutes of play?
  • Score only one goal in a series?
  • Blow three series leads?
Which of these series losses hurt the most, and who’s got the biggest appetite for roast Duck this spring?

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Kings Gameday: Just Another Game…

Los Angeles Kings (26-37-14, 13th in West) vs. Vancouver Canucks (46-23-7, 3rd in West)

7:30 PST, FSN West

(Quick note: there are two great posts below mine that were just posted today, so read those first. I’ll wait.)

Is anything important supposed to happen today? I don’t think so…

Anyway, the Kings play the Vancouver Canucks tonight in a game that they’ll probably lose. I’m at the point in the season where I don’t even care if they win or lose anymore as long as the young guys play well. Marc Crawford tried putting Kopitar on a line with Folov and Cammalleri. I like it, if for no other reason than it’s nice seeing the Kings’ 3 best forwards playing together. Patrick O’Sullivan has been playing the center position on the other line with Brown, and I like that too. He seems a lot more comfortable when he’s allowed to get the puck in space rather than having to dig it out of the corners. That could change the Kings’ priorities in the off-season if O’Sullivan can show that he's capable of playing center in the NHL.

Meanwhile, Sean Burke is terrible. His “attempt” to stop Patrick Marleau’s breakaway on Tuesday was one of the most pathetic things I’ve ever seen. His balance is terrible on breakaways, to the point where he can’t even get his leg extended to his glove side. I wasn’t even mad, though; I just felt sorry for him. No 40 year-old man should have to put up with this. The only person more humiliated then him was probably Mathieu Garon, who thought, “This guy’s playing ahead of me? Sacre Bleu!” (See, because he’s French-Canadian…)

At the head office, the NHL is apparently upset with GM Dean Lombardi for shenanigans he pulled while pursuing defenseman Joe Piskula. Apparently, Lombardi put in a clause in Piskula’s contract that gave him $25,000 for his 1st, 3rd, and 5th games played. The NHL isn’t happy because they think it sets a precedent where performance bonuses aren’t earned, but instead used to secretly give young players more money. Personally, I like the move. I’m sure Lombardi was looking over the CBA while he was a scout for the Flyers and noticed this loophole. Why not give it a shot? Even if the deal is voided, the Kings still have an inside track on Piskula since he's already here. Lombardi has shown before that he’s not afraid to try different ideas, like when he planned on “trading” LaBarbera to the Flyers and then picking him back up off waivers before the NHL nixed that idea. His scheme was sneaky, but it’s nevertheless pretty cool and I’m glad the Kings had the GM who thought of it first.

In other news, Yahoo! is reporting that the Kings might be interested in Glen Murray and the 4 million a year for 2 years left on his contract. That is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard, and the rumor was probably started by someone in Boston’s organization hoping that the Kings are idiots, but it still makes me uncomfortable. If Glen Murray doesn’t come along with Joe Thornton, I want nothing to do with him. Glen Murray had one year where he scored 92 points; other than that season, his career high is 62. And now he’s 34 and projected to hit 49 points this season. Oh, and he's out for the season with a groin injury. I liked Glen Murray when he was on the Kings and I’m sure he’s a pleasant enough guy, but I’d rather eat a baby than have him on the Kings for the next two years.

Dear God, no!

Prediction: The Kings will lose and I’ll head out for some meat tenderizer.

(Oh, and I won’t be posting anything until Monday, unless I decide to post something tomorrow. I’m sure all my loyal reader are disappointed, but fear not; if the Kings get scored on Sunday against the Sharks and you hear a distant “Fuck!” being carried by the wind, know that I am with you.)

Ducks Gameday—the only western team yet to lose to Anaheim

Anaheim Ducks (45-20-12, 3rd in west) at Columbus Blue Jackets (32-37-7, 11th in west)

Did you know that the Blue Jackets are now above the Oilers in the standings? I wonder how much that is being celebrated in Columbus or mourned in Edmonton. “Yay, we got past the quittingest team in the history of sports.”

And while we’re tackling one’s place in the world of sport, check out this ESPN fan satisfaction “study”, that shows that the Ducks are the 6th-best franchise in all North American sport. Now most Duck bloggers might point at the Sharks at 22 and the Kings at 103 (out of 122) and gloat, but I’ll just take the higher ground and say “whatever”. Yes, the team and ownership get high marks, and it is cool that a doofus like me can get access to Row B seats (try that in Toronto!), but really, the Ducks are not among the top 6 franchises in hockey, let alone all of sport. Still, take whatever ESPN-love that you can get, I suppose.

As an opponent, Columbus is really starting to piss me off. Since the lockout, they are 4-2 against the Ducks (2 wins by shootout), and every game has been decided by a goal or less. And as the post title notes, they remain the only western team this year that has yet to lose to Anaheim. I don’t know if that BJ frustration is what inspired me to make such a weird cartoon, but here it is anyway.

Prediction: Ducks 4, Blue Jackets 1. Goals by Selanne, Pahlsson, and (former BJs) Beauchemin and Marchant.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Resurgent Mike Ribeiro

Quick note: I know it's The Battle of California, but let's face it: the Dallas Stars are pretty damn relevant to the BoC. Really, the Pacific Division is basically BoC + Stars (yes, that means I'm completely disregarding the Coyotes).

Since we have Rudy Kelly writing some great day-to-day Kings stuff and I live in the Dallas area, it occurred to me that some Stars coverage seems reasonable. As you can see from the Jack Johnson post, I'll still write some Kings stuff from time to time. That being said, for an undetermined amount of time I'll be supplying some Stars stuff.

Keep in mind a few things: 1. I'm not a Stars fan. I don't hate them (always) but I think they're pretty boring (almost always); 2. I know quite a bit about the Stars, but by no means am I a comprehensive source of Stars knowledge.

Anyway, consider this my first post as a Stars correspondent, although I've written things already, including a hastily drawn analogy between Peyton Manning and Marty Turco...

When most hockey fans think of Mike Ribeiro, they picture a famous scene from a Montreal Canadiens playoff game. After taking some penalty-worthy blow, Ribeiro was seen writhing on the ice in pain...only to come up smiling.

Despite his talent, there was probably more talk about his Razzie-award worthy performance than any feats of playoff dominance. His career playoff totals are pretty abysmal:

17 Games, 2 goals, 3 assists and 18 PIM, according to hockeydb.com. No Cups and some embarrassing moments of inspired diving and writhing.

So, naturally, when I heard of the trade that sent him to Dallas, I had a few hearty snickers. Not only was the notorious Ribeiro involved in the trade, but so was Janne Niinimaa, whose claim to fame rests in his atrocious defensive responsibility and amusing tendency to take emo team photos.

The trade seemed like one of the most common in the NHL: exchanging a headache for a cancer. (Hey, Rib, at least you're not a cancer...right?)

Anyway, there wasn't much that changed my mind at first, especially not when a graphic artist I was talking to referred to Ribeiro as "Mr. Fancy Pants." But we'll let that one slide.

That being said, there's been a decided change in the play of Ribeiro, especially lately. In the last 10 games, he scored 11 pts (6 Goals, 5 assists) and 2 of his 3 GWGs. In the last two games against the admittedly irrelevant Coyotes, he scored 6 points.

His improvement is showing up on the scoresheet, but the best thing for the Stars is that he's consistently been a force on the ice. His blend of playmaking and sublime stickhandling is elevating his game to the playoff-friendly "DearGodjusthookhimandgetitoverwith" level.

Could MR FP end up groaning and writhing his way to another piss-poor playoff run, especially on the postseason-ally challenged Stars? It's a strong possibility. Still, with the rejuvenation of Ribeiro and the acquistion of Ladislav Nagy, the Stars finally have some scoring depth beyond American Hero Mike Modano.

The Stars postseason dreams don't just lie on the shoulders of Turco and Modano.

And on that note, let me leave you with this shameless photo from www.dallasstars.com:

Jere Let's it in! Get it? Kill me...

Ducks Gameday—Are you sure you want to simulate the rest of the season?

Anaheim Ducks (44-20-12, 3rd in west) at Chicago Blackhawks (27-39-9, t-14th in west)

Well, yesterday’s results certainly could have been better. Vancouver, Dallas, and San Jose all gained 2 points on the Ducks, and somehow the Wild managed 1 point without even scoring a goal. Again, Anaheim finds itself with all four of these teams sitting within 2 points of its precious 2nd-seed, and plays the only game in the west today to try to pad that cushion.

A quick glance at Anaheim’s remaining schedule shows that even though 5 of the last 6 games are on the road, 4 of those road games are against golf-buddies Chicago, Columbus x2, and St. Louis (plus one extra home game vs. the Sharks and one extra road game vs. the Stars). Sounds like a manageable season-end, right? Beat the bottom-feeders from the Central, and maybe split the matches against the playoff-bound Pacific, right?

But the Ducks, for about as long as I have followed them, have a weird pattern of playing well against better teams and then pissing away points against more beatable opposition (Phoenix excluded). For example, here’s how they’ve fared this year against the remaining competition:

vs. CBJ/CHI/STL: 4-2-2, .625 W%, 3.4 GF, 3.0 GA
vs. DAL/SJS: 9-4-1, .679 W%, 3.4 GF, 2.1 GA

Compare this to how the other 7 western playoff teams have performed:

vs. CBJ/CHI/STL: 68-20-10, .745 W%, 3.2 GF, 2.1 GA
vs. DAL/SJS: 25-23-4, .519 W%, 2.2 GF, 2.4 GA

The lesson? The Ducks have had an easier time beating the Sharks and Stars this season than the Blackhawks, Blue Jackets, and Blues, and if they intend on starting the playoffs at home, they had better get serious about reminding the latter set of teams why they are not going to be playing mid-April (hint: they’re beatable).

If there’s any bright side, though (as I noted in an email to PJ yesterday), the more the Ducks lose and the more the Sharks win, the bigger the April 4th game in Anaheim is going to be.

Prediction: Ducks 5, Hawks 2. Goals by Pahlsson (only 1 goal so far in 2007), Thornton (1 goal in 2007), Marchant (0 goals in 2007), May (0 goals in 2007, his last assist came against Anaheim), and Parros (0 goals in 2007, has not scored an NHL point since Jan. 21, 2006—431 days and counting).
[13:18 3rd Period--PARROS 1 (MAY, DIPENTA)
May gets an assist FOR Anaheim, and for Parros that's 431 days and OVER!]

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Kings/Sharks Gameday: Damn Those Likeable Sharks!

Los Angeles Kings (26-36-14, 13th in West) vs. San Jose Sharks (46-26-4, 7th in West)

7:30 PST, FSN West & FSN Bay Area

A lot of my enjoyment as a hockey fan comes from hating other teams; I’ve probably spent more time in my life thinking about how much I hate the Ducks than I’ve thought about math. I have a horrible confession to make, however. It's my secret shame that I have kept hidden for years until now. There’s a team up north who I can’t quite bring myself to hate: the San Jose Sharks.

The problem with the Sharks is that they’re the type of team I’d cheer for if I weren’t a Kings fan. They don’t take many penalties (they’re 26th in that department so far this year), they’re all big, fast and young, and they have a fanbase that seems to genuinely care about the team. They have gotten good over the years through smart drafting (way to go, Lombardi) and key trades when they presented themselves. They've never really done anything wrong as an organization except boo the Canadian national anthem last year, but it could be argued that Edmonton started it. The only real beef I have with the Sharks is that they got rid of the Cleveland Barons (their old AHL affiliate) and their adorable aristoshark in favor of an affiliate in Worcester.


Even the players are somewhat likeable. I’ve always liked Joe Thornton for three reasons: one, he is probably the most unselfish player in the NHL; two, he seems like a funny guy in private (his interview along with Scott Thornton earlier this year was hilarious); and third, he has been denounced his entire career as a choker by the insane people of Boston. (He only has 104 points this season; I’m sure none of them were clutch.) It wouldn’t be fair to hate Patrick Marleau in the same way it would be unfair to hate a robot (besides, he’s friends with Kelly Hrudey), and I only really hate Jonathan Cheechoo because I have to hear how much he likes to eat moose every playoffs. The only person in the organization I don’t like is Ron Wilson, and that’s more because he used to be the Ducks’ coach than anything else.

Dammit, Joe, stop being likeable!

If anyone has a reason they hate the Sharks (other than their jerseys are teal), put them in the comments. This may not seem like a big deal to some, but it’s infuriating for me. I love making fun of other teams; I’d rather make fun of Alexei Yashin’s turtleneck than play with a litter of puppies. Sure, I can make jokes about Mark Bell being a drunk or Scott Hannan looking like a hobbit, but it’s not the same old-fashioned hate I get when I see Corey Perry or Matthew Barnaby. Damn those Sharks; I hate them so much because I can’t help but like them.

Prediction: The Sharks will win and I’ll grudgingly give them respect. Those bastards.

Monday, March 26, 2007


According to Mirtle, the Kings are very close to signing uber-prospect Jack Johnson to a major-league deal that scared the Hurricanes so.

Our very own PJ Swenson tried to draw a little air out of the 'ol Jacko balloon in the linked thread, but Kings fan can feel free ignore all that "bad penalty" talk right now, not to mention the even scarier Sandis Ozolinsh comparisons. (Yikes)

This is a time for much rejoicing. Remember, Jack, old people can still go to college but only young people can win a Calder and bang an Elisha Cuthbert-sque puck bunny. I mean, seriously, all due to respect to the University of Michigan...but Hollywood crushes Ann Arbor on the babe scale. Not that either place wants anything to do with this author, but that's really a moot point.

Anyway, I was actually working on a little profile for him earlier this month, so I figure that I'll slap some of it in here for people who might want a bit more info on JJ.

The Trade

It was no secret that the Carolina Hurricanes were having major problems luring the third pick in the 2005 NHL Draft out of Ann Arbor. But that being said, it still was pretty shocking to read the following deal:

Jack Johnson to the Kings for Tim Gleason and Eric Belanger (Let's just forget all about Tverdovsky). Yes, there were rumors about the 'Canes moving Johnson, but to the Kings? It was a fantastic surprise for fans such as myself.

Check out this engrossing little feature: "Johnson is key to Kings' future" by Chris Foster

"The first time we put Jack on the ice was when he was 4, and he stood up and just started skating," said Tina Johnson, his mother. "He didn't fall, he didn't wobble. He just skated to the other end of the rink." - Los Angeles Times

A Few Profiles/Quick hits

Johnson receives an "8.5 B" score from HockeysFuture.com

Another source on his signing with the Kings

Jack Johnson fears failure, admires Alex Kovalev and devours lamb chops.

Finally, fairly comprehensive stats of his career so far.

...Excited? Just a touch. Even though it isn't a surprise, it's still a relief.

Ducks Gameday—Century club battle tonight!

Anaheim Ducks (44-19-12, 3rd in west) at Detroit Red Wings (45-19-11, 2nd in west)

Well, two of the four clubs that have managed 100 points so far on the season go head-to-head tonight, as the Red Wings host the Ducks on Versus for the only game of the night. And coming off a drinky weekend in New York City (my brother’s bachelor party), I’ve barely got time to put anything together for this game at all; apologies in advance for the weak analysis.

One of the intriguing aspects of DET/ANA match-ups is the showcase all three Norris Trophy winners since the year 2000 (Pronger x1, Niedermayer x1, and Lidstrom x4), and there’s good reason to think these three may even find themselves as this year’s candidates, as well.

The Norris Trophy regulars.

A quick glance at some metrics (league rank among defensemen in parentheses):

Points: Niedermayer 13-51-64 (1), Lidstrom 13-48-61 (3), Pronger 11-42-53 (t-9)
Points-per-game: Pronger 0.90 (1), Niedermayer 0.89 (2), Lidstrom 0.81 (5)
Plus-Minus: Lidstrom +36 (2), Pronger +26 (t-6), Niedermayer +8 (t-47)
Time-on-ice (avg): Niedermayer 27:43 (2), Lidstrom 27:31 (3), Pronger 27:10 (4)
5-on-5 quality of teammates rating: Lidstrom 0.094 (49), Pronger 0.0164 (109), Niedermayer -0.082 (189)
5-on-5 quality of competition rating: Lidstrom 0.0894 (27), Niedermayer 0.0538 (51), Pronger 0.0424 (60)

Those last two are a little difficult to explain, but suffice to say that these three are playing pretty significant opponents (especially Lidstrom) while playing with less-productive icemates (especially Niedermayer). And as for Pronger, who surprisingly returned to game action Friday against the Stars? He's got a key metric going for him as well:

Anaheim’s record with Pronger available for 60 minutes: 38-11-19, 85 points in 58 games, a 120-point-season pace
Anaheim’s record without Pronger available for 60 minutes: 6-8-3, 15 points in 17 games, a 72-point-season pace

That’s all my sluggish head has got today. Feel free to offer your predicted Norris finish in the comments (my money’s on Lidstrom, by the way).

Prediction: Ducks 3, Red Wings 2 (OT). I forgot to mention, both these two teams have the fewest regulation losses in the league (19), so why would either add to that total today? Goals by Pronger, Niedermayer, and Pahlsson can bounce the OT-winner in off of Lidstrom’s stick.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Kings Gameday: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Los Angeles Kings (26-35-24, 13th in West) vs. Minnesota Wild (44-24-7, 6th in West)

5:00 PST, FSN West

The Good: The play of Patrick O’Sullivan. O’Sullivan, who was sent down to the minors at the beginning of the season because of poor work ethic (and a lack of production), has been on a tear of late. With a goal and an assist in yesterday’s game against Chicago, the fightin’ Irishman now has a 7-game point streak with 10 points in that span.

I never really bought into the whole “poor work ethic” thing; it was more likely that O’Sullivan was simply having trouble in a league where he can’t skate through people. Guys who are skill players in any league often have trouble adjusting to a league with athletes at every position. They don’t do that great at first and are criticized for “not doing the little things well.” The top scorers don’t have this problem; when was the last time someone criticized Teemu Selanne for not going into the corners? Now that O’Sullivan has seemingly figured out how to make good passes and find the open lane, I don’t think we’ll hear too much talk about his work ethic anymore.

Also of note is the premiere of Joe Piskula, a defenseman for the Kings who until recently played for Wisconsin. There’s a lot of talk on this site (mostly by me) about how terrible some hockey players are, but it’s still nice to see a guy get his shot at the NHL. Piskula wasn’t drafted originally and worked his way into an important role on the Wisconsin squad, so I’m sure last night was pretty special for him. In honor of that, I’ll wait until at least next week before I mock his playing ability and question his sexual orientation.

The Bad: The injury to Lubomir Visnovsky. Lubo is likely out for the season after cracking his ankle in a recent game. Lubo has had a great season and is one of the more underrated players in the game. His offensive skill is well-documented, but his ability to snuff out the play on the defensive end is virtually ignored. Visnovsky is not as good as Scott Niedermayer, but the gap is not as big as many would have you believe. Blake is probably out tonight as well with a strained neck. Both guys would probably be playing if the Kings were close to a playoff spot, but there’s no point in aggravating an injury in a meaningless game. But still, these guys are pussies.

The Ugly: The impending ass-kicking tonight, courtesy of the Minnesota Wild. The Kings meet up with old friend Pavol Demitra tonight as they face the Wild, who have been playing insanely good lately. They’ve won their last 8 games and are finally healthy after suffering various ailments throughout the course of the season. Leading the charge has been Demitra, who in his last 23 games has scored 32 points, putting him at 64 points in 66 games this season. The Wild also have Brian Rolston, who has a ridiculous shot, and Marian Gaborik, who is probably the only Slovakian who is both more talented and more injury-prone than Demitra. I’m terrified of the Wild because they are skilled offensively and also have one of the best defensive coaches in the league in Jacques Lemaire. They also have this guy:

That monster is Derek Boogaard, listed at 6’7”, 254 pounds. It should be very interesting tonight because Boogaard often dominates his rival pugilists by throwing them around; Raitis Ivanans (6’3”, 263 pounds) is not a man who is thrown around. If Boogaard and Ivanans fight, I imagine a brawl of biblical proportions. I really, really want these two guys to fight.

Prediction: "If you save your breath I feel a man like you can manage it. And if you don't manage it, you'll die. Only slowly, very slowly old friend."

Friday, March 23, 2007

Kings Gameday: No TV Makes Rudy... Something Something

Los Angeles Kings (25-35-14, 13th in West) vs. Chicago Blackhawks (27-37-9, 14th in West)

5:30 PST, 1150 KTLK

The Kings are playing the Blackhawks tonight, but the game is not going to be on television. I don't mean that it's not going to be on FSN West or Prime Ticket; I don't think the game is on television at all. What is this, the 1880s? I'm not old enough to remember a time where it was impossible to get certain games on television, so this is mind-blowing to me. I mean, do they have cameras in the building at all? Damn you, Bill Wirtz!

It's not all bad, though. Nick Nickson (the Kings' radio play-by-play man for a number of years) is sick, so Bob Miller is going to be doing the game tonight on radio for the first time since the '80s. Bob is one of those guys I'd listen to broadcast anything (well, not women's basketball), so it should be fun listening to him in a different medium. Plus, Kopitar is back, which is awesome. (Is it weird that my mood is affected in large part by the fortunes of a 19 year-old kid from Slovenia? It is? I thought so.)
I'm excited about this game tonight. I mean, yeah, it's radio, and this game is probably the most unimportant game ever played in the history of the NHL, but it's still Kings hockey. Go Kings go.

Prediction: This game won't make the highlights on SportsCenter. There's Arena Football to show, people!

Ducks Gameday—Uh-oh, time to look at tie-breakers!

Dallas Stars (44-24-5, 7th in west) at Anaheim Ducks (43-19-12, 3rd in west)

Well, if the playoffs started today, this would be G1 of a first-round 2-vs-7 match-up.

But frighteningly enough, the playoffs do not start today, and the Ducks’ hold on that 2-seed isn’t looking as rosy as it once was; 3 teams are now within 3 points of Anaheim.

Before we take a look at those standings, though, let’s consider what happens if two teams end up tied at the end of the season. The tie-breakers, as I understand them, are (1) wins, (2) head-to-head record, and (3) goal-differential. This is bad news for the Ducks, who lead all western playoff-bound teams with 12 OT/SO losses. Basically that means that if the Ducks are tied with anyone, the other team will have more wins (to compensate for less “loser points”). It really kind of makes the H2H moot, which is a shame because I think the Ducks would have had the edge over the Canucks, Sharks, and Stars in that department.

Any way, here's the teams nipping at our tailfeathers, and how they stack up.

Anaheim (43-19-12) has 98 points and 8 games remaining (2 home, 6 road).

Vancouver (45-23-6) has 96 points and 8 games remaining (4 home, 4 road).
San Jose (46-25-4) has 96 points and 7 games remaining (5 home, 2 road).
Minnesota (44-24-7) has 95 points and 7 games remaining (6 home, 1 road).
Dallas (44-24-5) has 93 points and 9 games remaining (4 home, 5 road).

Note that all these teams already have more wins than the Ducks.

Now should Vancouver or Minnesota catch Anaheim, that wouldn’t be that tragic—it really means dropping to the 3-seed. But if San Jose or Dallas catches us, that’s a bigger swing; bye-bye home-ice advantage.

So that’s the situation as it sits, just one side note: instead of watching this crucial game, I will be gone for the weekend to NYC (damn, I really should get packing!), so I’ll just assume that my prediction comes true this time.

Prediction: Ducks 5, Stars 2. Goals by Matthew Perry, Ronald McDonald, Cerebral Pahlsson, Dean R. Kunitz, and Rosie O'Donnell.

Well, this will be an interesting finish

About two weeks ago, I had figured that the Sharks would have to just hand over the Pacific title to Anaheim. There were about 10 points separating the two teams and the Sharks couldn't get their collective heads out of their collective asses.

Since the Bill Guerin/Craig Rivet acquisitions, though, things have been much different and now the Mighty team only has a two-point lead. The conundrum for any Sharks fan is tonight's game -- root for Dallas to take away points from Anaheim and close the gap with San Jose or root for Anaheim to keep Dallas away and make up the difference later. The logical fan in me votes for the former and the paranoid fan in me KNOWS that this stupid game will go to OT and screw the Sharks in the end.

What's happened to make the Sharks awesome over the past two weeks or so? Let us count the ways:

  • Patrick Marleau's back from injury. He's obviously still not 100% but even 80% Marleau is better than 600% Patrick Rissmiller.
  • Joe Thornton is 100% healthy and making crazy tape-to-tape passes.
  • Jonathan Cheechoo woke up. Welcome to the season, Cheech, glad you could make it.
  • Evgeni Nabokov got consistent.
  • Bill Guerin started scoring.
  • Mark Bell remembered that he was getting paid to play hockey, not mope around. Thanks for not making me look stupid in my Bell #7 jersey anymore (damn the old Hawks fan inside of me).
  • Craig Rivet reminded the defense that they didn't always have to act scared; instead, they could shoot from the point.
  • Ron Wilson had a team meeting where he told the guys that they could be scary freakin' good if they just played the system. They listened. Thanks Ron.
Before the deadline, I silently feared the bejesus out of Anaheim (not that I'd ever let Sleek know about that). Now, I think the Sharks have more poise on the blueline and more bite up front and can stand toe-to-toe with the Ducks. Sure, they still can't match the Norris Twins, but Anaheim's forward group isn't as deep as the Sharks. There's more of a balance between the teams, and for the first time all season, I honestly think the Sharks can take them, all homer bravado aside. It's not going to be easy by any means, but it can be done.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Ducks Gameday—Phoenix, the hand that feeds you

Anaheim Ducks (43-18-12, 3rd in west) at Phoenix Coyotes (28-41-4, 15th in west)

One aspect of the division-heavy schedule that has been in place this season and last is the notion of non-competitive rivalries, where a team regularly and handily takes points from one of its division mates. Tonight we have one of the prime examples with the Ducks and the Dogs. Since the schedule has been implemented, the Ducks have gone 13-1-1 against Phoenix, and those 27 points are the second-highest amount any team has taken from a division foe over that stretch (Nashville has 28 points in games against the Blues).

Here is a list of the top-15 one-sided division rivalries over the past 2 seasons (measured in terms of points-earned-per-game):


OpponentGames PlayedStandings PointsPoints-Per-Game







St. Louis








































St. Louis



















New Jersey










I don’t really know what to say about this list: on one hand, it seems unfair that dominant teams on this list get such a unique boost in their points total; on the other hand, every division is represented on this list so at least it’s somewhat spread out.

Now just for the record—I am a guy who for the most part is in favor of the new schedule. I like the fact that we don’t play the east very often; as opposition, eastern teams just aren’t as relevant to the Ducks’ fate, as they are accumulating points on their own separate standings board. And aside from Phoenix, all the other Pacific teams are great match-ups for Duck fans, and certainly involve less travel. (Plus I just don’t want to give up the free PHX points.)

Feel free to share your feelings on the schedule in the comments—what works for you and what doesn’t?

Prediction: 2 more points for the feathered ones. Ducks 4, Coyotes 2. In the seven games against Phoenix this year, the top line of Selanne-McDonald-Kunitz has combined for 12 goals and 19 assists, so naturally tonight’s goals will be scored by Pahlsson x2 and R. Niedermayer x2.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Kings Gameday: The Return of Mattias Norstrom

Los Angeles Kings (25-34-14, 13th in West) vs. Dallas Stars (43-24-5, 7th in West)

7:30 PST, FSN West

The Kings have had a little bit of a break after their whirlwind tour last week (where they played 5 games in 8 days). They were relatively successful, too, going 3-0-2. A lot of credit has been given to the younger guys (and deservedly so), but I think a big part of the Kings’ improved play recently has been the fact that our older guys have stepped up a little bit. I’ve liked the way Brian Willsie has been playing (who knew he could shoot?), while Scott Thornton and Jamie Lundmark have actually given the Kings a little scoring from their third line. Maybe Dean Lombardi was right after all and these guys can be legitimate hockey players.

In other news, it’s going to be interesting to watch in the next couple weeks as both Brian Boyle and Jack Johnson should be winding down their college hockey careers. Boyle’s team, Boston College, kicks off against St. Lawrence on the 24th and then will probably play New Hampshire on the 25th. If BC loses either one of those games, look for Boyle to sign with the Kings and possibly play with Manchester. Boyle is intriguing because he’s a 6’7” center, but there’s been talk of possibly making him a defenseman. He might not sign this season if the Kings decide they don’t want to mess up the chemistry in Manchester as they head towards the playoffs, but I’m really excited about this guy come training camp next season. He's definitely a project, but he could end up being one of the Kings' best players when it's all said and done. I mean, he's huge!

Brian Boyle Jack Johnson (left)
Jack Johnson and Michigan play North Dakota and then probably Minnesota on their side of the bracket, so it’s likely that they’ll lose by the 25th and then he’ll either join the team on the road or they may have him wait and open with the team at home on April 1st. I’m not as excited about this guy as other Kings fans are (meaning that I don’t get weak-kneed every time his name is mentioned), but he sounds like a guy who can be an anchor on the blue line for a couple years to come. With him, Blake, and Brown, the Kings should be a team to be feared come next season. The Kings may not want to sign him for all sorts of weird CBA issues, but I think they might just because of the publicity.

The Kings get a blast from the recent past tonight when they play the Dallas Stars. Mattias Norstrom is expected to play tonight for the first time against his old team. (The Kings played the Stars once before after the trade, but Norstrom was recovering from an injury.)

At first, I was glad that the Kings traded Norstrom; from a salary cap perspective, it was a good move, and I always thought Norstrom had gone from being underrated earlier in his career to overrated now. Still, I love that guy. If there was one player in the NHL who could be transported back to the 10th century and totally fit in, it would be Norstrom. This is a guy who once spent his off-season building a deck back at his home in Sweden. (Meanwhile, I can’t even make toast without losing my eyebrows.) For some reason, I find that endearing. On the ice, I liked Norstrom because he was not a dirty player at all but was unafraid to give a guy the business if he did something dickish.

I’m not going to be able to see the game tonight. Ordinarily I'd be pissed, but this is the first time I can remember where I don’t really want to watch a game because I don’t think I could handle seeing Norstrom wearing a Stars jersey. I mean, the Stars? I guess that makes them my favorite Pacific division team besides the Kings, but I’m not happy about it.

Oh, and I also heard that there's going to be a guy in a Guinness shirt at the game who threatened to kill Anze Kopitar, so any Kings fan who sees him should attack.

Waiting for a Kings Gameday Post

Dallas Stars (43-24-5, 7th in west) at Los Angeles Kings (25-34-14, 13th in west)

I’m not sure if RK is doing a post today or not, but in any event, a friend of mine from work and I will be going to Staples Center tonight to scout out the Stars (he’s a Canucks fan and so it is looking likely one of our teams will be matched up vs. Dallas first-round).

Stars are 1 point behind the Sharks and 7 points behind the Ducks with a game-in-hand on each, and have beaten the Kings all seven games this season.

This will be my 2nd visit to Staples Center this year, and the Kings beat Detroit my last time out, so maybe my mini-Kings-attendance-win-streak will kick in. The best part is—I don’t particularly care.

If anyone else is going, let me know in the comments, or just look for a guy around section 334 / Row 13 wearing a black Guinness shirt and cheering for Dallas blood.

Prediction: sadly, no blood.

Western Conference Power Play Efficiency Grid

Similar to my WC goal-differential grid, here is a PP efficiency grid, showing for the top 9 teams in the west how their PP percentage has done against specific western conference opponents. This time I did not bother splitting out Home vs. Road, but I did bother putting it into HTML (instead of a spreadsheet image), so I guess you win some and you lose some.

Running down across the left are teams on the power-play; read across to see how their PP does against the other western potential qualifiers. Running across the top are the penalty-killers; read down the column to see how different PP units have done against your squad.



2/21 9.5%

3/20 15.0%

6/32 18.8%

4/16 25.0%

3/21 14.3%

1/9 11.1%

4/19 21.1%

2/9 22.2%

25/147 17.0%


4/19 21.1%

4/25 16.0%

4/17 23.5%

3/20 15.0%

6/28 21.4%

5/33 15.2%

4/18 22.2%

3/20 15.0%

33/180 18.3%


0/15 0.0%

2/18 11.1%

4/25 16.0%

4/34 11.8%

2/12 16.7%

2/21 9.5%

7/42 16.7%

4/20 20.0%

25/187 13.4%


6/26 23.1%

3/19 15.8%

2/28 7.1%

1/18 5.6%

4/18 22.2%

1/7 14.3%

3/18 16.7%

2/13 15.4%

22/147 15.0%


10/21 47.6%

3/24 12.5%

7/31 22.6%

0/11 0.0%

0/9 0.0%

1/14 7.1%

6/31 19.4%

5/28 17.9%

32/169 18.9%


5/21 23.8%

7/36 19.4%

1/15 6.7%

13/31 41.9%

1/18 5.6%

3/34 8.8%

4/18 22.2%

7/21 33.3%

41/194 21.1%


5/23 21.7%

4/31 12.9%

3/28 10.7%

4/15 26.7%

3/15 20.0%

5/28 17.9%

6/23 26.1%

5/19 26.3%

35/182 19.2%


1/9 11.1%

2/17 11.8%

5/46 10.9%

6/16 37.5%

4/26 15.4%

3/14 21.4%

2/22 9.1%

9/25 36.0%

32/175 18.3%


0/15 0.0%

3/16 18.8%

6/25 24.0%

2/17 11.8%

3/28 10.7%

4/18 22.2%

7/24 29.2%

10/24 41.7%

35/167 21.0%

Total PP

31/149 20.8%

26/182 14.3%

31/218 14.2%

39/164 23.8%

23/175 13.1%

27/148 18.2%

22/164 13.4%

44/193 22.8%

37/155 23.9%

280/1548 18.1%

Anyone else surprised how badly Detroit measures on these metrics? They have the second-worst power play and the second-worst penalty kill of the bunch.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

OMG, this game is played by human beings?!

As a general rule, there are few things blander than your typical NHL player interview. I think everyone means well, but somehow the objective isn't about hearing about an individual perspective or personality anymore. For whatever reason (sensitivity, fear, team unity), most player interviews just turn into prompted clichés:

"Stick to the system, give a full sixty minutes, cut down on the mistakes, sure I like my linemates, blah blah blah."

So coming from that perspective, I gotta say that I was impressed to see that my favorite Swedish blogger, Ingmar Bergman, scored some chat time with an anonymous NHLer. And you know what? This interview is AWESOME.

The names are fake, but that probably allows the content (translated from Swedish) to remain so true. Ingmar, dude, you really kicked ass in this interview. Everyone, go read it!

Part I
Part II
Part III


Western Conference Goal-Differential Grid

Well, I was so inspired by BoA-Matt’s 60-minute and opponent-result tables that I decided to make a neat table of my own.

Below is a goal-differential grid for the top 9 teams in the western conference. Home teams are in blue along the left and road teams are in red across the top. For each intersection, it shows home goals-per-game in blue (counting OT and empty-net goals, but neglecting shootout wins), road goals-per-game in red, and the home team differential-per-game in black.

(click image to enlarge)

For example, when Nashville hosts Anaheim this season it has scored 4 goals per game and allowed 2 (differential = 2). When Anaheim hosts Nashville this season it has scored 3 goals per game and allowed 1 (differential = 2). The fact that both goal differentials are positive means that on average, the home team has been dominant in the season series.

What is this table good for? Well, looking at potential playoff opponents, I suppose. Who this season has your team matched up well against? Who this season gives them fits? Also it ignores results against the less-relevant eastern conference or non-playoff teams, so as to make results a little more applicable to the upcoming playoffs and the qualifying opposition (how does your team perform against the relevant playoff teams around it?).

This is not perfect by any means (there aren’t that many games that make up each cell, and ultimately one of these teams won't even qualify), but it does give a flavor of what we might see in the western conference from different home and road teams this spring. Then again, it might all turn to rubbish, but still, I made it anyway.

  • Anaheim is the dominant home team against this field, followed by Nashville, Detroit, and Calgary. The Ducks in particular have outscored each of these opponents at the Honda Center this year.
  • On the other side of the coin, Vancouver, Minnesota, and San Jose don’t seem to have strong home records against qualifying opponents. The Sharks might actually be the worst, as they are being outscored at home against five of the eight possible opponents.

  • Overall, the best road teams appear to be Anaheim, San Jose, and Minnesota, although each of these has opponents it might like to avoid (Anaheim hasn’t done well in Nashville or Calgary, San Jose has troubles in Nashville and Anaheim, and Minnesota probably dislikes Detroit).
  • Conversely, Detroit, Calgary, and Nashville have road issues, especially with teams towards the upper end of the standings.
Sorry if this bores or confuses any of you. If you have any questions or comments, let me know. If this sort of stuff gives you headaches, I’ll make you a cartoon instead next time.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Finally, a Chance for Celebration

My Mood:

The Kings won the season series against the Ducks last night thanks to an excellent game by Patrick O’Sullivan. Oddly enough, it seems that both O’Sullivan and Brown play better without Anze Kopitar, probably because they have the puck more and can create a little more out on the ice. Both have had a little trouble adjusting to the NHL (where they can't beat guys on pure skill alone), so hopefully they can use the end of this season to build towards the next. Last night's game, coupled with this report in the L.A. Times that says Kopitar is starting to skate again, makes me feel good about the Kings for the first time in a while. I think I may cry.

Overall, the Kings went 4-2-2 against the Ducks. They gained 10 points in 8 games; in the other 65 games they’ve played so far, the Kings managed only 54 points. And yes, I’m well aware that the Ducks went 4-4 and therefore didn’t exactly “lose” the season series, and my reply is: shut up. This is the kind of thing we Kings fans have to take solace in and I’ll be damned if I’ll let you Ducks fans take this away from us.

In other news, that Jordin Tootoo guy is kind of a dick, isn’t he? Here’s the video:

…and here’s Stars president Jim Lites laying into the Nashville franchise. While we may have our differences here at Battle of California, I think we can all agree on one thing: Nashville sucks. I know why I hate them as a Kings fan, but if any of you have a different story to relate (about how Darcy Hordichuk is a pussy, or why Paul Kariya is lame, or if you’d simply like to denigrate the city of Nashville itself), feel free to share it in the comments.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Kings/Ducks Gameday Megapost: Why I'm a Kings Fan


Los Angeles Kings [2nd! (From Last)] vs. Anaheim Ducks (Yeah, Yeah, Whatever)

5:00 PM, FSN Prime Ticket (and TSN for our Canadian friends)

When the esteemed Mr. Sleek asked me (read: threatened me) to write a column about why I’m a Kings fan and not a Ducks fan, I had trouble coming up with one reason; so many came flooding into my head that I needed to lie down for a while. It’s hard to write out what is so completely obvious to you that it need not be put into words; it’s like asking me why ice cream is delicious. After a lot of thought, though, I managed to narrow it down to a few main reasons. Here goes:

One, the Kings franchise has been around for longer than the Ducks. When the Mighty Ducks were just a twinkle in the eye of some retarded Disney executive, the Kings were rockin’ it with the Triple Crown Line, Rogie Vachon, and… uh… the point is the Kings have some sort of tradition, which is more than the Ducks can say. In almost all sports, I root for the established team (Dodgers over Angels, Lakers over Clippers, Galaxy over Chivas USA). I’m not sure why; I think it’s because I admire the history over the gloss of a lot of the newer teams. (Rally Monkey, anyone?)

Two, the Kings have a lot more passion among their fans, in my opinion. I’ve been to Ducks games, and there are a lot of kids running around and people don’t seem that upset when the Ducks get scored on. In contrast, I’ve never been to a Kings game where I didn’t hear the word “fuck” more than “shoot.” (To be fair, though, most of those are me.) I have also never been able to get to my car without seeing at least one opposing fan being heckled by some Kings fans. At Ducks games, you might get chided if you wear opposing colors; at Kings games, you might die. I call it passion, but others might call it a bunch of drunken thugs out of control. Either way, it’s pretty awesome.

Three, the Kings announcers are far and above the Ducks guys. Bob Miller is a god, and my respect for him knows no bounds. Jimmy Fox… let me tell you a story about Jimmy. After a game earlier this year, I was walking to my car when all of a sudden I saw a flash out of the corner of my eye. The flash was Jimmy Fox, running full speed along Figueroa with a briefcase in hand. I have no idea why. Some people might not think Jimmy Fox is a good color commentator, and they may be right, but I’ll be damned if he doesn’t make me laugh at least once a game. The Ducks guys, on the other hand, suck. The play-by-play guy (I don’t really care what his name is) is alright, but he talks too much during the game about random crap. And I HATE Brian Hayward. He talks up the Ducks way too much and in the past two seasons he’s become insufferable. I can’t wait until tonight to hear about how many “marginal” calls went against the Ducks and how great the Kings goalie is playing (thereby implying that the Ducks are outplaying the other team, but they’ve been lucky so far). If Brian Hayward were to die in a fiery plane crash, the only sorrow I’d feel would be that I wasn’t there to piss on the wreckage.

That's a marginal helmet.

Four, I think Dustin Brown broke some of Rotislav’s Klesla’s ribs and then beat up Alexander Svitov when he tried to defend his teammate last night. Dustin Brown rules.

Five, the Kings have had cooler captains since the Ducks came into the league. For the Kings: Wayne Gretzky, Luc Robitaille (for part of 1992-93 and for one game in 2006), Rob Blake, and Mattias Norstrom. For the Ducks: Troy Loney, Randy Ladouceur, Paul Kariya, Teemu Selanne (interim), Steve Rucchin, and Scott Neidermayer. Any questions? I mean, besides who the hell is Randy Ladouceur.

Six, the Kings have a better goal song. The Kings play “I Love L.A.,” by Randy Newman, while the Ducks play “Bro Hymn,” by Pennywise… wait, fuck, that song is awesome. I hate watching a Ducks game and being disgusted that they scored while simultaneously rocking out. I have to give it to the Ducks, they have the Kings beat in this department.

Seven, the Kings had a cooler goaltender at the time. I fancy myself a goaltender, so that was a big part of why I loved the Kings. On the Kings, there was Kelly Hrudey. On the Ducks, there was Guy Hebert. (Pronounced “I’m a douche bag.”) Kelly Hrudey looked like a pirate and was one of the last goaltender who utilized the two-pad stack constantly. He also had one of the coolest helmets ever in the NHL (seen below). Guy Hebert was born in the United States but took the French pronunciation of his name because it sounded better. I rest my case.

That’s not everything, but I’m sure you’re tired of reading so I’ll stop there. Feel free to say why you like one team over the other in the comments. The Kings are probably in trouble tonight because the Ducks are much, much better than them; at the same time, every game so far this season has been decided by one goal, so you never know. It doesn’t really matter because records can’t conclusively decide which franchise is better. (I swear I’m not just saying that because the Kings are terrible.) The rivalry goes far too deep. I like that the rivalry hasn’t gotten to the point where communication between the two sides is impossible, though. I mean, what’s the fun in having a rival if you can’t make fun of them to their faces?

Prediction: I’m going to tell Brian Hayward to shut up, then feel stupid when my cat looks at me quizzically.

P.S. I think the whole “Tinkerbelle tapping a guy when he scores” fiasco (in the Ducks’ first year) embarrassed all hockey fans, so it was unfair to include that. But seriously, who the hell thought that was a good idea.